This post is a discussion on the theory of how Karma Sense Eating links your Karma-worthy good deeds to a more healthful eating routine. There is a follow-up post that covers the practical applications. The cool thing about the Karma Sense Eating Plan, if I do say so myself (which I apparently do because I just did), is that it is so inclusive. It doesn’t matter what your favorite foods are. How many meals you eat. Breakfast eater or breakfast hater. Republican or Democrat. It combines the rigor of fact, structure, logic, and analysis with a bit of less tangible je ne sais quoi (which I believe is French for “huh?”). It is that yin and yang of the word “Sense” that is discussed here. If this post is your first encounter with the Karma Sense Eating Plan, I gave an overall description in another post that you can find here. Next in the sequence is a post on the role of Karma. That post is here. It really makes great sense to read that introductory post. Afterward, the sensible thing to do would be to read the Karma post. That will prepare you in every way to read this current post about the two senses of Sense that make up Karma Sense. Make sense? Don’t worry, it will. But for now, let’s make…
The Case for (Common) Sense
There are so many variables that impact one’s health. Genetics. Physiology. State-of-Mind. Physical Activity. That swerving car up ahead with the Maryland plates (although lately Massachusetts drivers have gotten my goat too. Maybe that’s what I get for tooling around I-93 with a goat. But I digress.) One last variable is nutrition. The Karma Sense Eating Plan primarily focuses on “Nutrition” (though it does give that State-of-Mind thing a run for its money too.)
Does the world really need another person to weigh in on how to eat more healthfully? Probably not. Especially because, when you boil it down, there are very few options at play. And like all things that have a finite set of options, I like to summarize them in a table. Wheee! 😆 .
|Goal||Nutrition Solution||Exercise Required?||What Can Help?|
|Lose Fat||Consume fewer calories than burned||No but highly recommended||KSEP|
|Maintain Weight||Consume and burn equal # of calories||No but highly recommended||KSEP|
|Gain Weight, Usually as Muscle||Consume more calories than burned||Yes||KSEP|
|Satisfy my Insatiable Hunger
for More Nutrition Information
|N/A||N/A||As one of your tribe, I can
tell you there is no help for
If you’re still patiently reading this series, I assume it’s because you have a goal that fits one of the categories in the “Goal” column. If so, the way to reach your goal is through a combination of what’s in the “Nutrition Solution” column and what’s in the “Exercise Required?” column. This magical table is the “Cliff Notes” version of every diet book ever written. (For those of you who don’t know what “Cliff Notes” are, it’s what your parents used to call “Wikipedia.”)
I admit the last column of the table is a shameless plug (as well as a way to increase my SEO score.) But it also makes an important point about the Karma Sense Eating Plan. KSEP applies no matter your goal. KSEP conforms with the majority of diets you’ve heard about and maybe even tried. That is what makes the Karma Sense Eating Plan so inclusive. It boils all the available hooey about nutrition into the basic irrefutable facts. KSEP doesn’t denigrate going gluten-free, paleo, or even the marshmallow diet (yes this diet exists but while not denigrating it, I refuse to link to it). Since these styles of eating can coexist with the Karma Sense Eating Plan, if they work for you, you’re on your way to good health with KSEP. Also, you’ll be helping to save the world. Never forget that minor point.
I’m not claiming that you should implement the Karma Sense Eating Plan in exactly the same way regardless of your goal. That would be a lie and therefore not very Karma-y of me. If you want to lose weight, it’s possible to do so simply by following the 5 mantras I presented in the introduction (and will repeat in lurid detail later) but for many folks, more information and support is required. If, on the other hand, you just want to maintain, you’re probably fine following the 5 mantras as-is provided you carefully watch mantra #1 which urges you to stop eating before you’re full. But we’ll discuss that in more detail later too. And on the other hand (wait, that makes three hands) Eating Slowly and Stop Before You’re Full will likely work against you if you’re goal is to gain weight. We’d almost definitely drop that mantra from your repertoire if weight gain is your goal. And finally, if you’re in the fourth group, a nutrition nerd, I wish you’d take over the keyboard for a while because I’m starting to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
All of these subtleties are targeted for discussion in several focused posts about the Eating component of Karma Sense. But at this point. what you need to walk away with is that while eating healthfully can be hard, the rules you need to remember to eat healthfully are easy. Not only are they easy but they are logical and backed by extensive research. So with that behind us, I’ll appeal to your softer side and make…
The Case for (Sensual) Sense
Now let’s depart from cold hard facts (but only a little) and examine the softer side of Sense, the Sensual. To be clear, I don’t mean “sensual” in a way that will make me have to slap one of these on my posts.
I mean sensual as in feeling. We’ll also look at the theory behind how linking acts of Karma-kindness to your eating ritual drives healthier habits.
But before that…
When I was in college I got this awesome job. It involved me zipping around campus delivering essential nutrition to students who had an inexplicably strong craving for specific foodstuffs. The arrival of these items brought such joy to their lives that they would often reward me with additional cash over and above what they were required to pay. It was as if their judgment was impaired and they had no sense of the value of a dollar. Also, they’d giggle a lot.
It really was a fantastic opportunity. The only problem was that I had to drive the company vehicle and that company vehicle was a pickup truck with a manual transmission (aka a stick shift). Well, this here city feller never drove one of them there manually transmitted vehicles before. Fortunately, this feller was datin’ a farmer’s granddaughter and she was well versed in the intricacies of operating such equipment.
So on my first day of work, I picked up the keys from this purveyor of fine vittles and met that there aforementioned country gal at the truck. As I stalled and backfired my way through the streets of Tobacco Road she was patient and kind and only screamed in horror when absolutely necessary such as the time I was rolling backwards and downhill into some young fraternity man’s BMW because I couldn’t engage first gear.
Eventually, with hard work and perseverance, this here feller got to the point where driving a manual transmission was second nature. Fortunately there weren’t cell phones or Starbucks back then because my expertise graduated to a level that would allow me to easily hold a Triple Venti Bacon Caramel Macchiato in one hand, update my Facebook relationship status from “Committed” to “Married” in my other hand, and shift into overdrive with my head tucked in just the right position(because I’m still denying that I have three hands.)
The moral of this story is twofold:
- If ever you’re dating someone who knows how to drive a truck with a manual transmission and that person is willing to teach you, he or she is THE ONE. Get married immediately. This act will ensure your eternal happiness.
- When we first learn a new skill, we pay attention to every detail required to perform that skill. We pay attention in a very deliberate way. Eventually it becomes second nature and then we do all those detailed steps without thinking about them. Everything good we learned about that skill while we were acquiring it becomes hard-coded in our brains. Everything bad we learned also finds a comfortable home.
Back to the Point That I Spent Way Too Much Time Away From, All For The Sake of a Back Story
A scenario similar to the above happened when you were learning how to eat and feed yourself. While you may not have come as dangerously close to $10,000 damage of a German sports car, you probably did explore the feeling of strained peas in your ear canal every once in a while. But eventually, the act of eating became second nature. You didn’t have to think about it.
There is nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s a great thing when the stuff you have to do to live becomes easy. It happened when you learned to breathe. It happened when you learned to drink water. It happened when you learned to eat. All of these are basic requirements for life.
If you were to sort these basic requirements from most vital for life to least, you’d get what you see on the horizontal axis of the chart below (by the way, tables are the gateway drug to graphs and charts).
And if you plot those requirements against the number of options you have for satisfying them, you see that the more vital the activity, the less choice you have for satisfying it. The less choice, the harder it is for you to introduce divergent habits, whether good or bad. Yes, one person can do a better job of breathing than another but the difference really is a hair’s breadth from each other. And the way some people drink is totally hilarious but as long as they’re getting hydrated, what’s the harm? But with a requirement like staying nourished, you have tons of ways to introduce undesirable habits that you don’t even notice. How do we get you to notice them? Let me tell you about…
Driving a Stick Shift
At this point in my life, I’m very comfortable driving a stick shift. But what would happen if there was suddenly a big change in my stick-shift-driving-environment? For example, here is a visual simulation of me reacting to a bunch of snakes:
What if suddenly to change gears in my rockin’ 2000 Oldsmobile Alero, I had to reach out and grab a snake’s head? I’d be a lot more considered and deliberate every time I was changing gears. And because the snake is going to be wriggling all the time and be generally ornery (it’s riding in an Oldsmobile Alero, of course it’s ornery), it will take me a long time to settle into a static habit for changing gears. Suddenly shifting gears goes from being a mind-LESS activity to a mind-FUL activity.
Well fortunately, the Karma Sense Eating Plan doesn’t involve any snakes (unless you are a follower of the Snake Diet in which case it would be part of your protein with every meal.) With KSEP, we’re going to use your act of good Karma and one other powerful but simple activity to mess with your mind a little. And this is going to help you find and eject any bad habits that may have evolved when you’re eating.
But for now, I need to close this post because I am exceeding my arbitrary but self-imposed word limit. I established that word limit because, unlike in person where I communicate mostly with grunts and rude noises, in writing I tend to go stream-of-consciousness. Of course, I could fix that by removing all the bloviating about the halcyon days of my youth as well as the tables and charts, but those are what make me so darn lovable 😀 . So I’ll continue with the details of Sense in the next post.
- No matter what your health goal, the nutrition component is invariably tied to calories consumed and calories burned. All plans and diets you’ve ever heard of depend on this fact.
- Habits develop over time and are hard to change. To change them, you first have to know you have them.